Former NFL player lectures on role of God in his life
Matthew McKenna | Wednesday, November 11, 2015
To Tim Brown, the Heisman Trophy and the Hall of Fame induction are just means to the end of speaking to men and women about what it means to be an authentic person whose life is in line with God’s plan for them.
Brown, a former Notre Dame football player and NFL receiver, gave the keynote lecture of “StaND Against Hate Week” titled “The Making of a Man” on Tuesday evening in DeBartolo Hall. He spoke about his own life and the lessons it taught him about manhood, faith and parenting.
“I want nothing more than for men to understand what God wants for them,” he said. “That’s why I wrote my book, and that’s why we talk about the things we talk about.”
Brown said he used to undertake his morning routine without turning the lights on because he could not face himself in the mirror. Now, because of a series of epiphanies that occurred over the events of his life, he can hold his head high.
“There is no way that you can be your authentic self, in my opinion, without God being involved in your life,” Brown said. “We may be educated, but I know a lot of educated people without God in their lives who are out there making some stupid decisions.”
Brown said role models play an integral role in the formation of young people and can influence how they interact with other people for the rest of their lives.
“I can tell just as clear as day after speaking with young men for two or three minutes who has good role models in their lives,” Brown said.
“As men, we have to understand that our kids are watching,” he said. “My son will tell you now that he was watching me when he was eight years old. He was waiting for me to say something I wasn’t supposed to say or do, something that would set a bad example, and I never did.”
Brown said part of the reason he takes speaking opportunities is he wants as many people as possible to hold him accountable for his actions.
“Sometimes we don’t want people in our lives telling us what to do because we think we have it all, and we think we know it all,” he said. “But you have to have people on this earth that you can lock into. You have to surround yourself with good people who will hold you accountable.”
Brown said he would not have achieved all he has if it were not for former Notre Dame football head coach Lou Holtz and his belief in Brown both as an athlete and as a man.
“It wasn’t like he was patting me on the back the whole time and telling me I was okay,” Brown said. “There was a lot of criticism, but with criticism comes correction.”
Brown said parents should stand up for their kids when being attacked or scrutinized unfairly, but they should also be willing to let them take responsibility when they make mistakes.
“When I see these fathers take up for their kids when their kids are obviously wrong, I can tell that’s going to be a problem,” he said. “We’ve seen it in college sports, and we’ve seen it in professional sports.”
Brown said young people have the world at their fingertips, but the current state of the world makes it difficult to avoid temptation and make the correct decision.
“If you don’t go to church, go to church. Mom and dad can’t come to college with you or go to the NFL with you,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to need a conscience in your head telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
“The only type of conscience that can provide that is a godly conscience, but if you’ve never heard it, and you don’t know anything about it, then it won’t be there for you when you need it.”